Events and initiatives
Events and initiatives

Franco Fontana. Sintesi

Modena pays tribute to Franco Fontana (b. 1933), one of the city’s most important and internationally acclaimed artists.

From 23 March to 25 August 2019, FONDAZIONE MODENA ARTI VISIVE will host an exhibition, titled ‘Synthesis’, over three sites - Palazzina dei Giardini, MATA - the former tobacco factory and the Sala Grande of Palazzo Santa Margherita - tracing more than 60 years of the artist’s career and exploring his personal relationships with some of the greatest photographers of the 20th century.

The exhibition is subdivided into two sections.

The first, curated by Diana Baldon, director of FONDAZIONE MODENA ARTI VISIVE, is installed in the Sala Grande of Palazzo Santa Margherita and in the Palazzina dei Giardini. Including 30 artworks created between 1961 and 2017, the majority of which have never previously been exhibited, selected from the artist’s vast photographic archive, this section presents the synthesis - evoked in the show’s title - of Fontana’s artistic career. This core group of works comprises quintessential examples of the photographer’s signature style: urban and rural landscapes that transport their audience on a fantastical journey, from Modena to Cuba via China, the USA and Kuwait.

From the outset, Fontana sought to develop an artistic practice that embraced creative photographic imagery: his bold geometric compositions are characterised by abstract perspectives and surfaces that bear witness and give significance to their forms. The images explore a variety of themes, ranging from mass culture to leisure, from travel to speed, as an allegory of the freedom of the individual, in which the human figure is almost always absent or viewed from a distance.

Fontana’s photographs are often associated with modernist abstract painting, in which colour is a key element, while the geometric outlines of the depicted forms obscure the representation of reality. By adopting this innovative approach during the 1960s, Fontana injected a new energy and vitality into the field of creative colour photography.


The second section, curated by Fontana himself and installed at MATA - Ex Manifattura Tabacchi, presents around 120 photographs selected from the collection of 1.600 artworks that the artist donated to Modena City Council and Civic Art Gallery in 1991. These works constitute an important element of the collection’s heritage, which is now managed by Fondazione Modena Arti Visive. This section of the exhibition highlights the close relationships the artist fostered with some of the greatest names in international photography. During the mid-1970s, Fontana began to exchange prints with other artists and, over the years, amassed hundreds of works by many of the most important photographers both in Italy and abroad, including Gianni Berengo Gardin, Mario Giacomelli, Luigi Ghirri, Josef Koudelka, Arnold Newman and Sebastião Salgado, to name but a few. Drawing on the artist’s personal memories, this section testifies to both the diversity and sincerity of the relationships Fontana developed with his fellow photographers the world over, in many cases forming life-long friendships, and the high regard in which he was held by them is attested to in the affectionate, personal dedications that frequently attended the works.

From Mar 23, 2019
To Aug 25, 2019
Palazzo Santa Margherita, Sala Grande, Corso Canalgrande 103, Palazzina dei Giardini, Corso Cavour 2, MATA - Ex Manifattura Tabacchi, via della Manifattura dei Tabacchi 83
Modena (MO)

From 23 March to 16 June 2019:
Wednesday - Friday: 11-13 / 16-19
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 11-19

From 17 June to 25 August 2019:
Thursday - Sunday 17-22

Cost Tickets Full Price: €6,00 - Concessions: €4,00
For details
Phone: 059/2032911 - 2032940
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